Hawk 'n' Dove re-opens under new management

A Capitol Hill fixture that closed its doors after 40 years is back in business.

The beloved "Hawk 'n' Dove" bar on Pennsylvania Avenue SE has a new owner, a new look and a new menu.

The landmark closed in Oct. 2011 after the previous owner lost his lease.

It re-opened Thursday afternoon - just in time for inauguration weekend.

General Manager Jan McAuliffe said, "We're really excited to finally open. It's been a long 15 months, but I think we're ready, ready to go."

The restaurant opened under the same name, same location but with an updated look and new menu.

Jeremy Magnanelli, the executive chef, said, "We're trying to make the food as fresh as possible, the best ingredients we can possibly get."

Neighbors and regular customers could not wait for the re-opening, pressing their faces up against the front window to get a peak inside.

"Lots of memories. I worked on Capitol Hill for 29 I was so excited about it," said customer Elizabeth Venegas.

Customer Joe Jackson added, "I guess it's just a nice, quiet atmosphere, and they have good food in here."

Dinner entrees will be a little more expensive, and some have already complained that it's just not the same Hawk 'n' Dove they knew - a dive bar, nothing fancy.

The new restaurant features a lot of the old decor. Antique paintings, mounted animal heads and decoy ducks surround the bar. But management also wanted to make the place feel more modern.

McAuliffe explained, "We're trying to add to the bridging of the gap, old and new, it's still the same name, but we're still trying to make it a nice neighborhood bar."

Launching a restaurant is never easy. But with so much history, and in some ways, so many cooks in the kitchen, the staff knows expectations are sky high.

"We're busting it out for four days straight, working around the clock. You know 16, 17, 18 hours a day. So it's our hope that everybody is gonna enjoy what we're doing back here," Magnanelli added.

The bar remains the focal point of the space with 18 beers on tap. Staff members say they like to think of the restaurant as an upscale saloon.

The most important artifact salvaged was the original sign, which was caught in a bidding war. The final price tag - $7,500.

The overall renovation cost about $2 million, and the restaurant's owner, Xavier Cervera, is already busy with his next project, Park Tavern at Canal Park.